“Beliefs that deviate substantially from the general social consensus are especially hard to maintain, requiring usually some kind of sanctuary… in which the deviant belief receives constant affirmation… They provide a kind of incubator for the fragile, nascent beliefs of the new story to develop. There they can grow a bed of roots to sustain them from the onslaughts of the inclement climate of belief outside.” – Charles Eisenstein, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible
All around me, I see people who want to step out of old stories and into something new, but they don’t know where to start and they’re not connected to enough people who believe in this new vision that’s emerging for them. These people are dreaming of a better world, but they face loneliness, isolation, and sometimes even ridicule for daring to voice something that’s outside of the accepted norm.
Some of these people have opted out of the financial economy and choose to live instead in the gift economy. Some of them have moved away from traditional agriculture and are experimenting with more sustainable earth practices. Some have left corporate jobs to teach art-making to troubled teens, poetry to prisoners, or yoga to executives. Some are stepping out of the rat race to live a more intentional and mindful life.
These creative and hopeful people are making music in the town square, planting trees in empty lots, building labyrinths out of garbage, turning ramshackle old buildings into community centres, wrapping yarn around trees and park benches, turning parking lots into parks, making bags out of old clothes, ignoring church policy to bring marginalized people through their doors, gathering people into conversation circles, growing vegetables in barrels, teaching elders to dance, and finding one hundred and one other ways to break from the norm.
All around the world, dreamers are waking up and breathing love and life into their dreams.
Are you one of those people? Or are you still in the dreaming stage and you haven’t yet found the kind of incubator Charles Eisenstein is talking about where your new belief system can grow and flourish?
If you are one of those daring dreamers, let me say first of all that I love and support you. There are no people I’d rather spend my time with than daring dreamers, radical revolutionaries, and openhearted lovers. I want to gather you all into a big circle, look deeply into your eyes, and let you know that you are seen. I SEE YOU. And I love you.
I want to create a space for your dreams to begin to grow. I want to see those tender little seeds find a safe place to dig their roots into the soil and reach their tender sprouts toward the sun.
For this purpose, I’m creating an Idea Incubator, and I welcome you to join me.
What will the Idea Incubator look like?
1. Once a month we’ll have an Idea Incubator call where you can share your ideas and get advice, feedback, and (most importantly) moral support. The format for the call will depend on the number of people who attend. If there is a small number (under 8), we’ll stay in one circle and all participate in the same conversation. If there are more than 8, we’ll break into smaller, self-facilitated groups where ideas can be shared.
2. We’ll also have a private Facebook group that will support the monthly calls and give you a secondary space where you can share your ideas and ask for advice, feedback, and support. This may also be a place where you can build networks and find partners and allies for your work.
Who should participate in the Idea Incubator?
You should participate if you:
- Have an idea (or two or three) that needs an incubator to help it grow.
- Want to support other people’s ideas.
- Believe that the world needs people who will help us find a path into a new “Story of Interbeing” (Charles Eisenstein’s term).
- Have become disillusioned with the systems (industrial, financial, health care, education, government, etc.) that are not serving people as well as they should.
- Are willing to contribute to meaningful conversations in a positive, optimistic, and supportive way.
- Believe that we are all responsible for our world and that each of us can make a positive contribution.
What kind of ideas are welcome?
Any ideas that hold the intention of making a positive contribution to the world, your community, your family, and/or to yourself are welcome. These ideas might look like:
- new art/yoga/dance/music/personal development courses/retreats/workshops/conferences you want to create
- new community projects you want to initiate
- a new business you want to grow, or an old business you want to change
- a conversation you want to host in your community/church/government/youth group/etc.
- a youth initiative you feel your community would benefit from
What’s not welcome?
I hesitate to answer this question, because I want all to feel welcome. However, I feel the need to be clear that this is not a place to promote your business, sell products or services, pour cold water on other people’s ideas, be a doomsday prophet about the state of the world, or proselytize about your belief system. We want positive, engaged, generous people in the circle.
What are our guiding principles?
- This is a circle of trust and grace. It is a safe and supportive space for all of us, and to make it so, we will treat each other with kindness and generosity.
- This is a confidential circle. Nothing that is shared here will leave the circle without the permission of the person speaking.
- This is a sharing circle. Each of us will be invited and encouraged to share ideas, questions, wisdom, resources, etc.
- This is a learning and growth circle. We are all here to learn, and so no questions will be considered foolish and no wisdom shared will be silenced. We are all learners together on a path to a more beautiful world.
- This circle belongs to each of us. Each of us is individually and collectively responsible for how we interact, what we share, and what we get out of this time together.
How will the Idea Incubator calls be facilitated?
This work is will be guided by elements of the following practices:
1. The Circle Way that Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea of PeerSpirit teach (read more about it in The Circle Way: A Leader in Every Chair)
2. The Circle of Trust approach that Parker Palmer teaches (read more about it in A Hidden Wholeness).
3. The Pro-Action Cafe that is one of the practices of The Art of Hosting and Harvesting Conversations that Matter.
We will start with a collective circle, setting our intentions and doing a short check-in to see who’s on the call. If the numbers warrant, we will then break into smaller groups and each person who has brought an idea to the circle will have a chance to share the idea and get feedback and support. If enough time is available, we may do a second round of small group conversations so that you can get feedback from another small group. We will end back in the larger group. (Note: As this is still in the development phase and the idea has not been fully tested, the format may change once we’ve tried it once or twice.)
How much does it cost?
There is no financial contribution required. The only contribution will be your time, ideas, and supportive feedback to other people’s ideas.
How can I join?
If you are interested in being part of this initiative, fill out the form below. You will then be added to the private Facebook group and you will receive emails notifying you of when the calls will be held and how to join them. Adding your name does not mean that you are obligated to be on the calls, but we do hope that you will choose to contribute when you can.
Questions? Contact me.